Monday, April 30, 2007

Gravel in June 3 debate!
Former Alaskan Sen. Mike Gravel just finished up a short interview on CNN's "The Situation Room" political show. At the end of the interview, host Wolf Blitzer announced that Gravel would be included in the lineup for the June 3rd debate sponsored by CNN, WMUR-TV Channel 9 out of Manch, and the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Previously, it looked like the Gravel wouldn't be allowed into the debate. UL spokespeople noted that Gravel hadn't been excluded from the debate, just not invited yet. Others have questioned Gravel's inclusion and said it should depend on the level of support he has.
But after Gravel's performance, the blogosphere seems to have literally exploded with interest in Gravel's campaign. He placed fourth in a Daily Kos online poll, receiving more than 1,500 votes and an online petition posted two days ago requesting the three media entities to include Gravel, received more than 5,100 signatures in less than 48 hours.
Newspaper circ continues to dip
Bad news out of the newspaper business: Circulation at virtually every big newspaper in the country has dropped. The numbers speak for themselves:

USA Today: 2.23 million [Up 0.2 percent]
The Wall Street Journal: 2.06 million [Up 0.6 percent]
The New York Times: 1.12 million [Down 1.9 percent]
Los Angeles Times: 816k [Down 4.2 percent]
New York Post: 725k [Up 7.6 percent]
New York Daily News: 718k [Up 1.4 percent]
The Washington Post: 699k [Down 3.5 percent]
Chicago Tribune: 567k [Down 2.1 percent]
Houston Chronicle: 503k [Down 2 percent]
The Arizona Republic: 434k [Down 1.1 percent]
Dallas Morning News: 412k [Down 14.5 percent]
Newsday/Long Island, NH: 398k [Down 6.9 percent]
San Francisco Chronicle: 387k [Down 2.9 percent]
The Boston Globe: 383k [Down 3.7 percent]
The Star-Ledger/Newark, N.J.: 373k [Down 6.1 percent]
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 357k [Down 2.1 percent]
The Philadelphia Inquirer: 353k [Up 0.6 percent]
Star Tribune/Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN: 345k [Down 4.9 percent]
The Cleveland Plain Dealer: 345k [Up 0.5 percent]
Detroit Free Press: 330k [Down 4.7 percent]

I wonder what the figures would be if they included Web hits as part of the circ numbers in some way. If you then compared those numbers - the print/Web circ numbers to just the print numbers before the Web existed, what would they be? How would they compare? I bet that you would see that the combined numbers were higher than just the old print numbers.
At the same time, the board which does the counting of the circulation needs to get rid of the formula they use to count actual penetration. The ABC uses a formula of 2.3 actual viewers per newspaper. They assume, basically, that 2.3 people will see each circulated newspaper and then the newspaper uses this figure to pitch penetration numbers to advertisers.
It's a total racket. It would be like a radio station saying, Yeah, we only got a rating of 6, but it's actually 18, since there were three people in each car that had the radio station on the air during the ratings period, so you actually reached three times the listeners. Try selling that to a marketing firm and watch them laugh you right out of the building and yet, newspapers have been getting away with this for years. It's pretty amazing.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Making Economic Growth Work Ecologically
Guest Perspective/Roy Morrison

Our hearts tell us what we should do. Prices tell us what we will do. The principle is clear if we want to make economic growth mean ecological improvement, not ecological destruction. More pollution must mean a decrease in the rate of profit. Less pollution must mean increasing profits.
It’s not hard. We need to tax consumption, not income. Pay taxes on whatever we buy or use. More pollution, more tax. Lower pollution, less tax. Ecological consumption taxes can enlist the invisible hand of Adam Smith in the cause of ecological sustainability.
An average 18 percent ecological value added tax, or E-VAT, can replace all U.S. government taxes on income, fund the federal budget, and get the prices right by raising taxes on more polluting goods and services. The more polluting, the higher the E-VAT tax rate, and the lower the rate of profit.
Helping save the planet and our kids’ futures is to phase out income taxes and the IRS. How painful is that? Just make the E-VAT rate on all goods and services increase with the amount of pollution, depletion, or ecological damage.
That’s the path to ecological sustainability and peace, instead of climate change and resource wars for oil, water, and fertile high ground.
We can phase in the E-VAT over ten years as we phase out income taxes. The E-VAT is simple for consumers. You pay a sales tax at the point of purchase.
You file no tax forms. You avoid taxes by buying less polluting goods or services with lower tax rates indicated by color codes.
And the E-VAT is simple and largely self-enforcing for businesses. Businesses file only a simple form reporting the tax you collected from your sales and taking credit for the tax you paid your suppliers. You send the difference between what you collected and what you paid to the government. This credit for invoices system means that the value sellers add to their product is only taxed once. The E-VAT could be based, first, on average amounts of pollution, depletion, and ecological damage by S.I.C. code (Standard Industrial Classification) with less polluting items applying for reductions.
The E-VAT is consistent with WTO rules that permit taxes on imports with exemptions for exports. If the U.S. adopted an E-VAT, it would make exporters from China to Germany change their practices.
The E-Vat tax base is final sales to domestic purchasers, more than $13 trillion a year. An 18 percent average E-VAT, with allowances for collection and non-compliance, could replace all personal, corporate, and payroll taxes.
The E-VAT as a tax on all consumption, not simply on pollution, is positively reinforcing. As the market responds to E-VAT rates, highest polluting items would lose market share. To maintain revenues, the tax on moderate polluting items would rise. Over time, this would mean the E-VAT would tend toward a flat tax on most items that were sustainable in impact with high taxes indeed on the few polluting outliers.
The regressive nature of the E-VAT can easily be remedied by a targeted negative income tax. An additional $64.5 billion for a negative income tax would keep federal tax rates flat for the 40 percent of U.S, households with the lowest income. My forthcoming book, "Markets, Democracy & Survival," discusses the E-VAT in detail.
The simple relationship between less pollution and higher profit will lead in short order to a fundamental transformation in the way we do business and make investment and consumption decisions. If polluting goods and services cost more, we just need to be price conscious shoppers and businesspeople. Our ethics and our pocketbooks will be once more aligned.
Roy Morrison is Director of the Office of Sustainability at Southern New Hampshire University. His Web site is

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Charts and graphs

This chart, in Saturday's WSJ, shows that even when the stock market is rockin', the economy - as reflected by the gross domestic product - isn't doing as well as it has in the past.
As the saying goes, liars figure and figures lie. Well, sometimes they do and sometime they don't. One of the reasons I really like reading the WSJ - not skimming it, but actually reading it - is that a person can really learn a lot about what is going on in the world, especially concerning economics. The next key, after reading, is to implement your own values into the things you've learned. If you just follow it blindly, you're just a robot. If you take everyone at their words, you're not thinking for yourself.
For example, I've always loved the phrase, Economists need to learn to subtract. Well, one might say, economists know how to subtract. But do they? Do they, for example, subtract the detractions of pollution on economic growth? Nope. They just add up the value. Do they figure in the harm of free trade agreements when they add up all the economic value? Nope, they don't. They just add. No subtracting. The point is that for every action, there is a reaction, both negative and positive. Now, I'm not trying to stress just the negative. Economists should add. But they should also subtract.
Alright, well what's the point about this and why graphs and charts? Well, look at the one above. Do you see anything in it? It doesn't matter if the stock market is raging. It doesn't mean the economy is any better because it is raging. Some folks need to kinda get over that.
I found another interesting statistic in Saturday's WSJ on the back page of the B section in the column, which I read everyday. The columnists are noting that while blue chip stocks are under-performing, the recent devaluation of the dollar is boosting their revenue pictures:
"Nearly half of the revenues of companies in the S&P 500 come from overseas. A similar figure isn't available for small companies. But since only 8% of total U.S. economic activity comes from exports, it's clear that bigger companies account for most foreign sales."
OK, think about that for a second. Did you catch it? Only 8 percent of total U.S. economic activity comes from exports. Free trade agreements allegedly boost exports while costing Americans millions of jobs. Three million, in fact, since NAFTA's implementation in 1994. So, why are our leaders costing us millions of jobs to only assist 8 percent of the total country's activity? Seems foolish, doesn't it?

The Noise Top 30 Chart, May
Reporting stations: WAAF, WFNX, WMBR, WMFO, WTCC and WZBC

1. Winterpills – The Light Divides
2. The Charms – Strange Magic
3. Jake and The Jakes – War Is Over
4. Don Lennon – Radical
5. Big D & the Kids Table – Strictly Rude
6. The Glass Set – Something Unknown
7. The Snowleopards – Debut
8. Tiger Saw – Tigers on Fire
9. Read Yellow – Radios Burn Faster
10. Hooray For Earth – Hooray For Earth
11. Dinosaur Jr. –Beyond
12. Willy Mason – If the Ocean Gets Rough
13. The Gobshites – Get Bombed
14. The Vinyl Skyway – From Telegraph Hill
15. Jake Brennan – “Do You Remember What Joe Strummer Said?”
16. Christians and Lions – more songs for dreamsleepers and the very awake
17. The Fun Years – Life-Sized Psychoses
18. The Hotel Alexis – Goliath I’m On Your Side
19. The Luxury – This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
20. Girls Guns & Glory – “Pretty Little Wrecking Ball”
21. Piebald – Accidental Gentlemen
22. The Prime Movers – Back in Line
23. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Let it Roll
24. Auto Interiors – Let’s Agree to Deceive Our Best Friends
25. Caspian – The Four Trees
26. E.R. aka Eldridge Rodriguez – A Conspiracy Against Us
27. Frank Smith – Red on White
28. The Sterns – Sinners Stick Together
29. Marlene Tholl – Kore
30. Ron Noyes Band – Come Hell or High Water

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's becoming clearer: The Hippo is abandoning Concord

On Wednesday, I posted this entry about the possible demise of the Concord edition of The Hippo: ["Is The Hippo ending its Concord edition?"].
There hasn't been any response to the piece from the parties involved but I know some have seen the article online. However, the past few weeks, editions which have been dropped in Concord were the same as ones dropped in Manch. And after taking a quick gander through the latest issue, released on Thursday, it is becoming clearer that this speculation may be dead-on correct.
The latest issue, which I picked up on Warren Street in downtown Concord, has a Publisher's Note by Jody Reese - not Dan Szczesny - who had previously been writing the Concord editorials. The edition is a hefty 71 pages. This is impressive when you consider this is New Hampshire and the newspaper is primarily covering news and culture, with heavy emphasis on arts frequented by a younger audience. Three reporters remain, according to the staff listings, although this week, Lisa Brown's contribution was limited to a quarter page of news briefs about Manch and an article about treasure-hunting with your GPS. She was previously the Concord reporter. There is virtually no Concord news or content to speak of, although most of the ads based out of the Concord area remain [lumped together on Page 8 and 9].
Associate Publisher Jeff Rapsis has a very good cover story on the state of classical music in New Hampshire entitled "Fight at the opera" which is worthy of posting. Since I got to know most of these cats when I hosted a daily arts program for a local radio station, it is good to see that their story is getting out there.

In other local media news ...
* Congratulations to Concord Monitor Editor Mike Pride for being named the co-chairman of the Pulitizer Prize Board, the group which hands out the best in journalism awards: ["'Monitor' editor chair Pulitizers"]. After reading the article, it's amazing the guy has any kind of life. Between editing the newspaper, blogging, and reading all the books and entries he has to read, it is amazing he can keep his sanity.

* Rick Watrous has this letter in the Monitor challenging the newspaper to do more investigative reporting: ["Cut the fluff; give us a series on the city budget"].

"There are important local stories ripe for reporting. Sunday's Viewpoints featured a letter about city council conflicts of interests and the lack of a council ethics code. I and others have raised similar questions about questionable behavior in Concord city government. The Monitor should live up to the "civic duty" Pride mentions and investigate such stories."
Watrous makes a good point, especially when eyeing some of the fluffier pieces in the newspaper and some of the major things which get ignored, for whatever reason. Here is the column, written by Pride, which Watrous alludes to: ["Without newspapers, would we know?"].

* After 35 years, Gardner Hill, the host of "Coffee Chat," aired his last program on a local radio station here in Concord. Hill doesn't know what he is going to do now that he is out of work but he is keeping his options open. Many of us grew up listening to Gardner on the radio and it is amazing that he has had such a long, fruitful run. Best of luck to ya, Gard!

* Next week, the Union Leader will launch a new online bidding system at its Web site, The system is called Ubid-Ubuy, and seems to be modeled after eBay. Similar programs offered by some area radio stations have bombed. But as newspapers look for new forms of revenue, it doesn't hurt to try something.

* Walter Alarkon, a reporter at the Monitor, has an interesting piece about presidential candidates visiting the area and utilizing some radio stations in the Granite State to reach out to voters: ["Small stations, big-time guest"].
The article is good. But I found it strange that a certain local radio station in Concord, which has covered hundreds of presidential campaign events over the last two-plus years and has a Web site with downloadable mp3s of all kinds of 2008 presidential campaign audio, was completely ignored in the article. The slight was pretty prominent and noticed by more than a few of us out here in the hustings.
I called Alarkon to get a bit of background about the story. He said that he spoke with some people at Concord's only commercial station but they weren't included in the article. The focus was about small radio stations which have political or opinion talk shows on the air, not news stations, he said. Since the station didn't broadcast political or opinion shows, it wasn't included in the article, he said.
To the non-trained eye, this all seems pretty logical. But for those of us who have worked in the media, it really seems as though other hands may have had a role in the story. I mean, why include anything about radio stations in Keene or New London which can't even be picked up in the reading area of the Monitor?
In the end, the article wasn't as good as it could have been because important local information was kept out of the story.
Debate perception update
No comment from me on the debate because I didn't stay up until 1 a.m. to see the rebroadcast. Hopefully, C-SPAN or MSNBC, will repeat it over the weekend so I can check it out. I saw some of the highlights, including Mike Gravel saying, "Some of these people frighten me!" ... which was totally hilarious. However, here are some polling numbers to look at and what others think:
With 11,753 people voting over at Daily Kos, the results of who won the debate last night have altered slightly: Edwards drops to 18, Obama 17, None of the Above and Clinton both bump up to 12, More than one of the above drops to 11, Gravel rises to 10, Richardson drops to 5, Kucinich drops to 5, and remaining steady are Biden at 3 and Dodd at 2.
SurveyUSA also released a poll late last night of South Carolina debate watchers. They called 1,200 voters and only 400-plus said they watched the debate. Of them, 31 percent said Obama won the debate with Clinton receiving 24 percent and Edwards 14. Not sure received 13 percent. Biden got 6 percent, Richardson 4, and Kucinich 3. Dodd and Gravel were tied with 2 percent. When asked, "Who lost the debate?" Not sure received 20, Gravel 17, Clinton 12, Kucinich 10, Dodd, Obama and Richardson 9, Biden 8, and Edwards 5. Independents in the poll favored Obama three to one over Clinton and two to one over Edwards. Edwards and Obama were tied amongst Republicans polled. It's puzzling that SurveyUSA would poll Republicans and Independents - who I believe can't vote in the South Carolina Democratic primary because it is a closed primary - to find out what they thought.
Lastly, from my Sitemeter tracking, four people visited Politizine over the last 12 hours Googling for results on Mike Gravel with one looking for information on Dennis Kucinich.

Update: C-SPAN will rebroadcast the debate on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
Update correction: C-SPAN will rebroadcast the debate on Saturday at 9:21 p.m. EDT.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Debate round up
I missed the debate tonight in South Carolina. I was having some pretty good mags and eating nachos. But here is what some other folks are saying about the debate. I'll watch it on the repeat and comment on it later.
First, over at DailyKos, with 5,043 people voting, 20 percent said Edwards won the debate. Seventeen percent said Obama won the debate. More than one of the above received 12 percent while None of the above received 11 percent. Hillary got 10 percent while Gravel got a shocking 9 percent, ranking fourth. Wow. Richardson got 6 percent and Kucinich got 5 percent. Biden got 3 and Dodd got 2 percent. Over at, 56 people voted this way: Obama 30 percent, Edwards 20, Hillary 20, Kucinich 12.5, Gravel 9, Biden 5, Richardson 4, and Dodd 0.
It is hard for me to comment on a debate that I didn't see. But here is some reaction from others in the media: First, Nedra Pickler of the AP was nailed all throughout the 2004 campaign for being unfair to John Kerry. I believe she was the one who "broke" the story about Kerry's alleged affair with an intern. Anyhow, here is her take: ["Democrats Criticize Iraq in 1st Debate"]. This Newsday reporter has a pretty good scoop on who flew coach and who flew private: ["8 Candidates Rely on Private Jets']. Are we surprised? In other words, none of them could plan a few days ahead of time to fly Southwest from Manch to Myrtle Beach? Edwards lives in North Carolina. He couldn't drive to the debate from his house? Bizarre. Dan Balz has this account here : ["Primary Season Opens With Democratic Debate"]. Here is what the NYT is putting out, co-written by "world-class asshole" - according to W and Cheney - Adam Nagourney: ["Democrats Seek Balance of Unity and Differences"].
First 2008 Dem Debate tonight
The first Democratic debate will be held tonight at 7 p.m. on MSNBC. I will be out having cocktails with friends so I'm going to miss most of it. But I'm sure it will be repeated and I will catch it at that time.
This may be one of the only debates to include lower tier candidates like Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former U.S Sen. Mike Gravel, since there have been comments in the past about excluding them. So look for them to try and score some points - which isn't hard to do in 60 second soundbites. Kucinich will probably be flailing around, attacking Hillary for her war vote, but will get some red meat flesh for being the only guy on the stage actually trying to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. If Gravel can look presidential - or just offer some out-of-the-loop ideas - he might gain some traction and at least be allowed into future debates. Let's hope so: The guy deserves it.
The MSNBC Web site has a whole bunch of stuff on it worth looking at, including Chuck Todd and Mark Murray's Dos and Don'ts list, as well as comments by Chris Matthews about what he will be looking for tonight.
The WSJ this morning published one of its silly little national polls showing Obama gaining on Hillary with Edwards running third but gaining traction. The poll is meaningless, as I've stated ad nauseum. But it is worth listing the article in order to look at some of the things the public is sensing about Iraq and the Republicans: ["Obama Narrows Gap With Clinton"].
Speaking of polling and MSNBC, its Web site has a "Rate the Candidate" interactive poll, featuring clips and other footage. At around 5 p.m. this afternoon, here is how the Dems were fairing, with positive, neutral, and negative numbers [71,312 participating]:

Obama: 48%P, 28%N, 27%Neg
Edwards: 38%P, 32%N, 30%Neg
Hillary: 27%P, 25%N, 48%Neg
Richardson: 25%P, 40%N, 35%Neg
Biden: 16%P, 40%N, 44%Neg
Kucinich: 10%P, 38%N, 52%Neg
Dodd: 7%P, 45%N, 48%Neg
Gravel: 3%P, 44%N, 53%Neg

It is clear that people who are filling out the interactive poll have very high opinions on both the positive and negative sides. Obama and Edwards are getting pretty high positives while Hillary, the D.C. insiders Biden and Dodd, and lower tier candidates, are getting pretty high negatives. In other words, no surprises here. However, Richardson is kinda in the middle, which is interesting. Everyone is predicting he will be the dark horse in this field. If he can climb into the top tier, the campaign could get a little feisty.

Thanks to all the folks who visited the blog today. I know I've been off it for awhile. However, a couple of other blogs picked up some of my new content and posted it, which led to a slew of new viewers over the past 24 hours. I appreciate your time. Thank you for reading.
If I feel the need to comment on the debate later tonight, I will. I also hope to blog a bit about the excellent Bill Moyers special which aired last night, "Buying the War," and a couple of other things.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Two eye Concord Ward 5 Council seat

According to Concord City Clerk Janice Bonenfant, two candidates have emerged to run for the council seat held by the late Councilor Marjory Swope, who recently passed away due to cancer.
Irena Goddard of Redington Road and Robert Werner of the Hooksett Turnpike, are running. Other potential candidates have until 5 p.m. today to file to run.
Goddard, a Free State Project supporter, ran for Concord School Board last year, coming in fourth and missing a win by a mere 357 votes [Six candidates were vying for three seats]. Goddard placed fifth in Ward 5. Interestingly though, she placed second in Wards 8 and 9, the area on the southeastern side of the city, and the Heights. Both are on the opposite side of the city.
The school board race was lightly covered by the media. The Concord Monitor limited its coverage to printing a voter's guide and a political hit piece about incumbent Paul Codington losing his law license. The piece was published on the front page, above the fold, election morning, and surely had a role in his loss [Codington, through some court finagling, was later able to get his law license back]. A local radio station also hosted and broadcast one of the debates and produced news segments about each of the candidates running up to the election.
Werner was previously the vice chairman of the Merrimack County Democrats and a local powerbroker. He was a supporter of presidential candidate John Edwards in 2004 and also a policy analyst for the Smoke-Free NH Alliance, according to campaign finance reporting Web sites.
In September 2005, Werner created a PAC, Citizens for New Solutions. In May 2006, the PAC name was changed to Citizens for Sensible Solutions. An active Web site for the PAC was not found and the PAC does not appear to have done much during its existence.
In September 2006, the Cheshire County Democrats blog posted an event listing sponsored by the group: A complimentary reception and discussion about how Democrats can win in New Hampshire, featuring William Gaston and Elaine Kamarck, authors of "The Politics of Polarization," was held on Oct. 19 at the Manch hotspot, Fratello's. The blog described the PAC this way:
Citizens for Sensible Solutions advocates for public policies that expand economic and educational opportunity, strengthen families, promote community values, demand responsibility and accountability from government, and protects our citizens. CNS will actively support candidates for public office that embrace this positive vision of New Hampshire’s future.
In end of the year 2006 filing, according to the Secretary of State's office, the PAC raised $3,160 and spent $2,279. Werner donated $1,350 to the PAC. Other political players donating money include Billy Shaheen, the husband of the former Governor [$300], failed District 1 Congressional candidate and Attorney Jim Craig [$300], Attorney George Bruno [$100], and Attorney Mike Atkins [$100]. Fire PAC NH also donated $500 to the PAC. The PAC listed the Fratello's event [$1,465.95], an airline reimbursement, and postage of $646, as expenses for the year, leaving $880 on hand.
Last January, Concord Mayor Mike Donovan, appointed Werner to the Utility Policies/Appeal Board.
Ward 5 is located in the western part of Concord. It runs from the Green Street Community Center to the Hopkinton line west, north to Auburn Street, Little Pond Road, and Lake View Drive [not including White Park], and south to Little Turkey/Great Turkey Pond/River basin to the Bow line on one side and along Clinton Street on the other side.

Is The Hippo ending its Concord edition?

Rumors around the publishing industry are that The Hippo, the free news and culture weekly out of Manchester, will no longer be publishing a Concord edition. During the last few weeks, readers [including yours truly] have noticed that Concord news was virtually non-existent in The Hippo, with the editions looking exactly the same as editions found in Manchester.
An email to Dan Szczesny on April 15th, requesting information about whether the Concord edition was being discontinued, was never answered.
Insiders familiar with local publishing have hinted that a cross-selling agreement between Newspapers of New England [the Concord Monitor's parent company], which publishes The Hippo, and the alternative weekly, was not going well and may be heading south.
Originally, when the Monitor's parent company agreed to publish The Hippo, there was a clause included which stated that The Hippo folks would not put out a Concord edition. In 2004, The Hippo launched a very successful Nashua edition, and a year later, after a cross-selling agreement was negotiated, started a Concord edition. Late last year, the company started a Monday through Friday micro-daily called the Manchester Daily Express.
If the cross-selling agreement were to end, The Hippo would either have to stop publishing a Concord edition or find another company, like the Phoenix Company out of Boston, to publish its newspaper. It seems as though The Hippo has decided the former.
The Concord edition consisted of a local editorial on Page 2, produced by Szczesny, and a few local stories and listings on Page 6. Other Concord content, albeit minor, was spread throughout the paper, including the cute Quality of Life meter feature.
But was the Concord edition doomed to fail from the start?
Previously, Neighborhood News, Inc., a subsidiary of the Union Leader Corporation, attempted to publish an arty weekly called The Concord Mirror [They also expanded coverage into Concord's South End neighborhood, to beef up circ]. Edited by Eric Baxter, who now writes for The Hippo's Daily Express, the paper was available both as a stand-alone and as an insert in the Bow Times. It featured a few articles and a slew of local listings, but was slim on ads. Towards the end, before Neighborhood News made it a section of the Times, effectively killing it as a stand-alone, The Mirror struggled to find its voice and had a hard time finding relevant arts content to cover.
The Hippo took a different track: They gave Concord readers the guts of the Manch paper, with a bit more local content, which limited expenses and gave readers the best of both worlds. Since many readers care about things going on in Manch, it worked.
However, advertising for the Concord edition, at best, was light, and probably not enough to sustain a full-time news reporter with a starting salary of around $25k. The ads seemed limited to a handful of restaurants and small businesses. Unlike the huge amount of advertising which can be found in Manchester and Nashua, Concord is a much smaller market. Advertising is tight, as local radio stations and the Monitor know firsthand. Most mom and pop businesses are barely hanging on and the Monitor probably found the cross-selling agreement cutting into their own business. The Monitor also launched a new weekly of its own - The Concord Insider - an insert in Tuesday's paper and a stand-alone downtown by Wednesday.
In the past year, staffing a consistent reporter to cover Concord news in the edition has also seemed to be difficult. A revolving door of reporters, most recently ex-radio gal Lisa Brown, has tried to do its best to provide content for the paper. Brown's work seemed to mostly be a collection of small, one paragraph bits of information or local listings, and not the more extensive investigative pieces Concord readers are clamoring for. Editors at The Hippo also attempted to enter into a news-sharing agreement with a local radio station, to beef up its Concord content, as did Neighborhood News when they were publishing The Mirror. But both opportunities failed to materialize when disagreements arose over whether or not content would be traded or purchased. The Hippo has previously offered Podcasting on its Web site to WTPL The local FM sports/talker. Chris Dornin, who runs a State House news service, also contributed pieces to the paper for a short time.
The paper has two employment advertisements on, a national newspaper employment Web site - "Features reporter with big dreams" and "Writer/Listings Coordinator." While it isn't known for sure, those new hires are probably not destined to cover Concord.
If this is truly the end for The Hippo's Concord edition, it is a sad day for local readers interested in more choices than just the Monitor. While The Hippo didn't offer a lot of Concord news, they at least tried. And that, is better than nothing.
For those of us who couldn't get out to NAB2007 in Las Vegas last week, we do have some reading options. This morning, the daily NAB Smart Brief included a link to a bunch of articles which were published in the newspaper handed out to attendees of the event: ["NAB2007 Daily News"].
Of course, the links aren't quite the same as being there. But it beats not being able to find out anything about the event, which is a massive media and technology expo.
For the radio folks out there, subscribing to the NAB newsletter is worth the time. You get all the latest headlines about the business emailed to your Inbox. I would like to find one which handles the newspaper industry in a similar way but I've been unable to find such an entity.
The NAB event, the NAB Radio Show, will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 26 to 28. Here is the site although no information is available about events: ["NAB Radio Show"].

Somerville's Kirkland Cafe to close
I just found out via email from a friend of mine that my old haunt the Kirkland Cafe in Somerville is closing on May 27. The Club Bohemia Web site confirms the closing: ["Kirkland Cafe"].
Over the years, I played a number of gigs there and also hung out there on a regular basis. It was a great place to check out bands and also play. There was almost no attitude and it was always a good time.
While I don't know why the closing is occurring, and there is limited information about it, it was probably high rents and a lack of attendance for gigging these days. People are too into discotheques and Podcasts to worry about actually going to see a band live. Although, the bigger arenas seem to be thriving ... have you seen the price of tickets lately? Rod Stewart, who held his farewell tour years ago, is getting $110 a ticket! Wow.
But back to the Kirkland: I always thought the block was ripe for the picking and that could be the situation. Very expensive condos have sprung up on all sides of the place, including some very cool loft condos right across the street. It was only a matter of time before someone looked at the place and saw dollar signs. This is all speculation on my part. The Dali Restaurant is located right next door and there isn't anything on their Web site about closing so who knows at this point.
Is Sen. Gregg the one?
Some folks out there in the blogosphere have been wondering who in the United States Senate is holding up some simple sunshine law legislation forwarded by Sen. Russ Feingold and co-sponsored by 31 other senators. The law, entitled The Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, seeks to amend the campaign finance law to require Senate candidates to file election-related designations, statements, and reports in electronic form. It would also require the Secretary of the Senate to forward a copy of any electronically filed information to the Federal Election Commission within one working day instead of two working days. Not huge thing, you would think.
Well, it has been anonymously held up in the Senate but no one knows who is doing it: ["Clueless in the Senate"].
That is where the Sunshine Foundation comes in. They have been calling all the Senators trying to find out who is holding up this simple update to the campaign finance reform legislation. Well, the only one who won't answer Yea or Nay, is Sen. Judd Gregg, one of New Hampshire's senators: ["Sunlight Foundation"]. So, either all the other senators are lying when denying they are holding up the legislation, a possibility, or Gregg is indeed the culprit.
One has to wonder why this is happening, especially if Gregg is actually involved in holding up the change. He isn't up for reelection until 2010 which is a lifetime away, even with the changing demographics of the state. Is there really something so offensive in the legislation that it must be held up by Gregg?
Gregg is pretty popular in the state but something like this could backfire on him even though it will probably be forgotten by 2010. One could say that Gregg has lived a pretty charmed life. He is a political legacy here. His father was once a Governor. He has served as a Representative to Congress for four terms and later, Governor himself, for two terms. In 1992, Gregg decided not to run for reelection and instead, ran for Senate. He easily won the Republican primary and faced off against Democrat John Rauh, along with four independents. Rauh's refused PAC money and limited his contributions to $100, so he was underfunded in the general election. Gregg won, although with only 48 percent of the vote, not a majority. In 2004, Granny D challenged Gregg after one of Burt Cohen's campaign underlings allegedly drained a campaign account of cash. Gregg spent $2.5 million and Granny D spent $177,000. Gregg won with 66 percent. In 1998, another underfunded Democrat, George Condodemetraky challenged Gregg and lost, with only 28 percent of the vote, spending about $26,000 in the effort, compared to Gregg's $1.1 million-plus.
In 2005, Gregg won a secondary Powerball prize, which garnered some headlines. I think he was criticized for not donating the money and then later did donate to charity or part of it, I don't recall exactly. Gregg's wife was also involved in a kidnapping incident but was OK after the tragic event.
So, why is Gregg holding up this thing? Is he covering for others who don't want the change, assuming he is safe in the Senate? With so many Republicans supporting the legislation, what is the problem? Is it too difficult to do the people's business electronically?

Update: A representative for Sen. Gregg has denied that he is the anonymous Senator.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Last night, I was sitting on my hammock outside the house. The sun had pretty much already set - it was dusk - and there was a nice breeze blowing. It was cool but not intolerable. And surprisingly, the bugs weren't a problem. The bugs have come out but they aren't a huge problem yet. Flying over my head were a couple of bats, probably gobbling up all the bugs. It's times like these that just make life worth living.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Not too late to get your telephone tax refund
A quick note here before I get back to my two week stint away from the blog. Ralph Nader writes about a telephone tax refund which few people are getting: ["Get Your Telephone Tax Refund: It's Your Money"]. While it only may be $30 to $60, that's better than no dollars. If you're a late filer like I am, don't forget. If you've already filed your taxes and missed it, called the IRS now at 800-829-1040.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A bit of time off
I'm going to step away from blogging for a bit to take a break. So you probably won't be hearing from me for the next couple of weeks. However, if the world blows up or something major happens, I could be back. Thanks again to everyone who reads and keeps up with Politizine. It is a real joy putting it together. Be back soon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Headline Roundup: Good Government?
It has been a quick few weeks since I've done any headline roundups. Sorry about that. Things have been a bit crazy but here are some of the things which have piqued my interest over the past few weeks.

Front page editorials: You gotta love 'em. And, almost no one does them anymore. This is too bad because it does bring you back to the classic days of the newspaper business.
Locally, the New Hampshire Union Leader has them every once in awhile, although they aren't as rough and tumble as the old days. Here is one from publisher Joe McQuaid from today's UL: ["Seatbelts good; big government force is bad"].
Most days, I wear my seatbelt. It's a no-brainer to wear your seatbelt. But that doesn't mean our state or nation needs a law forcing us to wear them. We simply don't. But that is what we are about to get here in the Granite State. McQuaid doesn't make the point of economics in his editorial today but it is an issue. This is a revenue stream for state and local governments and nothing more. Shame on them!
I admit, I voted for a lot of Democrats in 2006. I was angry like a lot of folks were and I wanted to make a major statement with my vote. In my neck of the woods, the Democrats always win anyway, so my votes for the state Legislatures weren't very meaningful. Although, my vote for one Republican, Rep. Liz Hager, admittedly, a liberal one, who I happen to like personally, probably helped her hold onto her seat because she only won by a measly 155 votes over someone named Karen Kelly.
At the same time, I didn't vote for Democrats so that they could turn New Hampshire into a nanny state. I also didn't vote them in to obsess over social issues which often distract us from more important issues like economics and education. I voted to send a Democrat to Congress so he would work to end this stupid war. I voted to send Democrats to the Legislature so they would work with Gov. John Lynch to fix the education problem and eliminate the broad-based property tax.
So far, they've haven't gotten the job done and they have been there for months.
Instead, the Legislature has spent time rescinding the rights of parents to know if their under-age daughters are getting abortions, passing a useless resolution against the Iraq war, and is now looking at passing a seatbelt law [Yeah, I know, I know, it was Hager's bill to rescind the rights of parents on the abortion. We'll agree to disagree on that issue]. Maybe it's bad PR, but I doubt it. I normally wouldn't have a problem with a resolution on the Iraq issue but there is too much work to be done to waste the Legislature's time on such things. That is the Congress' job. The Legislature should leave the federal issues to the federal candidates and work on issues they actually have jurisdiction over.
I truly hope that the Democrats in this state can get back on track or they will probably find themselves out of power just as quickly as they got in.

FCC makes good: Over the years, I, and others, have been really disappointed in the FCC. They have done some pretty ridiculous things. But today, they made good. And the next time you are on a long trip on a plane, you can thank them for this one: ["FCC Says 'No' to Cell Phones on Planes"].
Cellphones, as I've written before, are great tools. They shouldn't be treated as toys, even though they are. Almost all of us who have them have come to rely on them and we wouldn't know what to do without them. However, when you are trapped somewhere, the last thing you want is some yahoo yacking on his cellphone. Sure, we can put on our headphones and ignore it. But this change wasn't needed. And we can award the FCC with a big Thank You!

An aware government?: As we complain about government, it is important to recognize when governments do good things. Let's take a look at one recent example, in France, where the government has decided to release its UFO files: ["France opens secret UFO files covering 50 years"]. Wow. Fifty years? Amazing. The article gives the official site but it is useless to those of us who don't know French.
Speaking of space, I continue to be fascinated by stuff going on in space, including these very cool pictures of the sun: ["Dazzling new images reveal the 'impossible' on the Sun"].

Two bogus stories which make we wonder about things. First, the National Organization for Women has to complain about this one: ["NOW Demands Access to Program Geared to Fathers"]. Like, can't fathers get a break?
And then this, a questionable report about who pays taxes in America: ["Who Pays America's Tax Burden, and Who Gets the Most in Government Spending?"]. I'm sorry, this study just doesn't wash. You can prove almost anything with numbers, especially when you don't count corporate welfare, giveaways, and subsidies, which almost always go to the more affluent. Just counting welfare and poor people's programs skews the numbers. I will update this with a bit more in-depth analysis in the future.

My dad has a hot new band that is all the rage in South Florida: [Sol Expressions]

Lastly, a long, but good, article on NPR: ["Has Success Spoiled NPR?"].

Here are some quick political headlines:

The first quarter money numbers are in and here are the details.

For the Dems:
Sen. Hillary Clinton: $26 million-plus.
Former Sen. John Edwards: $14 million-plus.
Gov. Bill Richardson: $6 million.
Sen. Chris Dodd: $4 million.
Sen. Joe Biden: About $3 million.
Sen. Barack Obama: Unknown but expected to be close to Hillary's numbers.

For the GOP:
Former Gov. Mitt Romney: About $20 million.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani: $17 million.
Sen. John McCain: $12.5 million.
Sen. Sam Brownback: $1.3 million.
Rep. Tom Tancredo: ABout $1 million.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee: About $500,000.

The figures don't include money transferred from previous accounts, just funds which were raised in the quarter. Money transfers don't count. As I find more numbers for the other candidates, I will post updates.

The firefighters continue to go after Giuliani: ["Giuliani Faces Questions About Sept. 11"]

MSNBC eyes New Hampshire 2008 Senate race: ["Sununu seems beatable, but by whom?"]